Electrospinning: Constructing the Apparatus and Synthesizing Polymer Fibers

Date of Graduation

Fall 2007


Master of Science in Materials Science


Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science

Committee Chair

Ryan Giedd


Electrospinning is a process used to produce continuous polymer fibers or filaments. Typically during electrospinning a polymer solution or melt is loaded into a syringe and an electric potential is applied between the syringe needle and a grounded target. This creates an electrostatic force which overcomes the surface tension of the solution at the tip of the needle resulting in the formation of what is known as a Taylor Cone. An electrically charged jet emerges from the Taylor Cone and results in either a fiber or a spray of fine droplets, a process known as electrospraying, depending on the experimental conditions. The fibers are collected into nonwoven mats that may have useful applications as filters, paper coatings, or tissue engineering scaffolds. A detailed process for constructing an apparatus capable of electrospinning is provided. In addition, solutions of fully hydrolyzed poly(vinyl alcohol) are electrospun into nonwoven mats and characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Conclusions are made about the effects of electric field strength and fibril diameter of PVA.


poly(vinyl alcohol), electrospinning, polymer fibers, scanning electron microscopy, nonwoven mat

Subject Categories

Materials Science and Engineering


© Nathaniel Douglas Smith